What is a robotic myomectomy?
John Crane, MD, is an obstetrician/gynecologist and performs robotic advanced pelvic surgery at McKee Medical Center.
Question: I think I’m too young to have a hysterectomy, but have heavy bleeding and fibroids. What is the difference between a robotic laparscopic myomectomy and a robotic hysterectomy?
Answer: A robotic myomectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses robotic surgical equipment to remove uterine fibroids and repair uterine muscle through small incisions. Robotic myomectomies typically result in less pain after the procedure, less blood loss and scarring and allow a faster return to normal daily activities compared to open or laparoscopic surgery.
Myomectomy is the only surgical treatment for uterine fibroids that preserves fertility, but may increase the need for a cesarean section delivery. Fibroids are removed surgically from the uterus. The other surgical option is a hysterectomy, which results in permanent infertility.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. They can grow inside the uterus, outside attached to the uterus or in the lining or wall of the uterus. Fibroids are also called myomas, leiomyomas, and fibromas.
As women age, they are more likely to have uterine fibroids, especially from their 30s and 40s until menopause. About 80 percent of women have uterine fibroids by the time they reach age 50. Most have mild or no symptoms.
Uterine fibroids usually need treatment when they cause:
- Anemia from heavy fibroid bleeding.
- Ongoing low back pain or pelvic pressure.
- Infertility because they have changed the shape of the uterus or the location of the fallopian tubes.
- Miscarriage or premature labor during pregnancy.
- Blockage of the urinary tract or bowels.
- Infection, if the tissue of a large fibroid dies (necrotic fibroid).
In a robotic myomectomy, the fibroids are cut out through tiny abdominal incisions using robotic arms and instruments. The robot, controlled by a surgeon, offers better movement, control and visualization of the instruments than what is available through traditional laparoscopic surgery. This allows for better precision.
Compared to a traditional open surgery, the benefits include:
- Opportunity for future pregnancy
- Less pain
- Less blood loss
- Fewer complications
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less scarring
- Faster return to normal activities.
Women should consult with their gynecologist about the benefits of having robotic minimally invasive advanced pelvic surgery.